5 Reasons Why a LinkedIn Profile Shouldn’t Replace Your Resume

As I was going through my regular LinkedIn profile review.  It occurred to me that LinkedIn profiles have become more than just a brief description of someone’s background.  They seem to have evolved into full resumes.  I have a few different searches (job opportunities) going right now, so I decided to do an experiment to see how many profiles could pass as a resume during my search.

Before I jump into the 5 reasons why your LinkedIn profile shouldn’t replace your resume. Take a look at a small experiment I performed.

Summary of my mini LinkedIn profile transformation experiment

The question I’m trying to answer:

Has the LinkedIn profile transformed into the modern day resume? 

My hypothesis:

Professionals joining LinkedIn are using profiles to replace the traditional resume.

The process:

Without getting too specific, my first search is in the tech industry around software engineering leadership, my second one is confidential but needing experience in management consulting, and the third is focused in the Retail industry. 

While running my profile searches, I started very broad and narrowed it down until I got a reasonable amount of profiles to review.  I made a chart with two rows for each search (example below), one row named “Completed Profile” and the other named “Incomplete Profile”.  I added tally marks into each row depending on if the profile met the criteria or not.  A Completed Profile meets the criteria thus will qualify as a resume.


Random sample size in each profiles type/industry:

50 profiles for each search

Criteria to qualify as a resume:

  • Completed summary describing experience and significant accomplishments

  • Responsibility descriptions for every position listed over the last 10 years (minimum 2 sentences describing the work performed in a position with key words pertaining to that particular industry).

  • Skills & expertise section completed



  • Only relevant positions are listed on the profile

  • Profiles are completed to the desired level by the profile creator

  • Each industry/profession will yield about the same results


Findings & Conclusions:


  • Technical professionals have the highest percentage of profiles that can replace resumes. 

  • Technical professionals find it beneficial and have experienced some sort of reward for filling out their profiles more thoroughly.

  • Management Consulting (MC) profiles were lowest in this experiment.  My assumption is that MC Professionals work on a variety of projects while employed for consulting firms making it laborious to track on their online profiles.  Most of the MC Professionals I’ve chatted with have worked with various customers, on a variety of projects and over a short period of time.

  • You could make the claim that the more technical you are, the more comfortable you are with using the LinkedIn platform.

  • Tech Professionals in 2012 held the #2 position in the make-up of LinkedIn profiles (higher education held the #1 position). We can assume from this data that tech professionals still represent a top spot in LinkedIn profiles.



That was a fun experiment but only partially proved my hypothesis.  Depending on the profession, there may be more or less profiles being used as the modern day resume.  There are a lot of variables in play here beyond industry type or tech savvy and I can’t begin to cover them all.  However, I started wondering if replacing your resume with a LinkedIn profile is a good thing.  I’ve literally been told by candidates that their LinkedIn profile is good enough for me to present to my clients.  Some are, but most ARE NOT from my experience and especially when dealing with an executive profile.


Here are 5 reasons Why a LinkedIn Profile Shouldn’t Replace Your Resume


  1. Most employers still request a copy of your resume even after reading your profile page.  I mentioned before that I’ve had candidates tell me to use their LinkedIn profile to deliver to my clients.  This is still a foreign concept.  I’ve sent profiles to clients while prospecting many times, but I still follow-up with a detailed resume after I’ve established contact with the prospect.  I don’t think we’re there yet, as LinkedIn profiles are inconsistently completed with enough detail to solely push to my clients.


  2. LinkedIn is a networking site. Why not use LinkedIn as it was intended, to introduce yourself, network, and collaborate with others.  Leverage Groups and participate in real live networking events. LinkedIn has capitalized on the profile creation and essentially turned the platform into a resume & job posting site.  It’s a great tool for recruiters and some job seekers. However, with the saturation of recruiters scouring over profiles, I wonder how long before users decide it’s time to move on to something else.



  3. LinkedIn could go away someday. Anything is possible. The same way Myspace was eclipsed by Facebook in 2008, LinkedIn could be replaced by another professional networking platform or new type of social platform yet created altogether. However, there aren’t any indications that this will happen any time soon, but it could happen.  Here is a link to other professional networking sites you may have never heard of.  http://techshali.com/11858/professional-networking-sites-list/


  4.  It decreases the opportunities for conversations and connections.  Imagine a world where LinkedIn didn’t have “Prosumes” (Profiles + Resume).  But rather, your profile contained a brief description of your learnings, key accomplishments, or your story.   This would force recruiters & hiring managers to reach out directly to you in order to learn more about your background.   In our current state, we have profiles being overlooked because they don’t contain the key words necessary to pop-up on a recruiters or hiring managers search.   The opposing argument is that LinkedIn has made job search and recruiting easier by providing the most popular recruiting platform and tools to connect.  In many regards, that’s very true.    However, picking up the phone and having a conversation with someone has somehow become an archaic practice, even though it has proven over time to be the most effective technique in recruiting and hiring.


  5. One less opportunity to brand yourself. Your profile should be leveraged to increase your personal brand.  If your profile reads the same as your resume, what more will a company learn about you once they receive your resume (assuming they look at your profile first).  Is it just more of the same?  Here are a couple of suggestions to help you build your personal brand.

  • Use your profile as an opportunity to tell your story

  • Even with a professional networking site, it’s OK to have a unique voice. Don’t be afraid to stick out and tell the world what’s unique about you

  • Share your expertise

  • Add recommendations to your profile


I want to be clear, I’m not advocating anyone to NOT use LinkedIn to find, fill, or post jobs.  I use it every day.  I’m advocating personal brand & professional connections, storytelling with profiles that extend your resume, and relationship based recruiting that goes beyond scanning profiles for key words.

As a candidate, you have so much more to offer than what is on your resume or profile.   However, your chances of sharing your story may be limited.

Please share your thoughts?  Is a LinkedIn Profile the modern day resume?   Should it be?   


Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net By Stuart Miles, published on 09 May 2014
Stock Image - image ID: 100259419

 This post was originally posted on LinkedIn on August 1st, 2014

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not reflect the views of my employer.


Views: 1058

Comment by Matt Charney on August 1, 2014 at 12:23pm

They also can't arbitrarily suspend your resume or delete it for violating Terms of Service or an ambiguously worded user agreement - so it's probably best to have a contingency plan for anything dealing with LinkedIn. Good post.

Comment by Kelly Blokdijk on August 1, 2014 at 7:33pm

Interesting post, Chris.

I'm not familiar with anyone fully expecting their LI profile to replace their resume (in the traditional sense). Though if complete/comprehensive enough, a LI profile does serve as a searchable set of data that may correspond with typical resume content. That said, in practically all cases, even if LI provides all of the pertinent information, someone along the way in the hiring process eventually requests a resume as well.

The main thing that stands out to me is most people only concern themselves with creating/maintaining an updated resume when they actually plan to need/use one. All types of professionals use LI for a variety of reasons and many of them are not in a situation to create a profile that resembles a resume because that isn't their purpose for using the site.

Also, what MC said.

Comment by Nicholas Meyler on August 1, 2014 at 8:18pm

Obvious stuff, but true.  Needs to be said.  Agreed.

Comment by Sandra McCartt on August 3, 2014 at 4:29pm
We have learned the hard way, to check a candidate's profile to be sure it matches their resume. We have had client's turn down a candidate because they looked at their profile, dates were different or job titles not the same. Most people are not as careful about their profile as they are about their resume. We have also run into many people who have more than one profile..same person, some different jobs, listed.

We have one HA who is so rabid about profiles that we have to ask candidates to be sure profile and resume match before we submit the candidate. That being said, we don't have any clients who will accept a profile instead of a resume even if the profile is exactly the same and comprehensive.
Comment by Tim Spagnola on August 4, 2014 at 6:10pm

Nice post and interesting insights. Thanks for sharing Chris. 


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